Dangers of welding fumes
Quality ventilation can cost you far less than you think. But before talking about the benefits of welding fume extraction, we have to clarify why there is a need for welding fume ventilation in the first place. The absence of a proper extraction arm brings many health risks for workers. You might ask what fumes are given off when welding? It depends on the metals that are being fused. Argon, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and helium are just some of the gasses. Others include:
- hydrogen fluoride
- iron oxide
- nitric acid, nitrogen
- nitrogen dioxide
Doesn’t sound like something healthy, right? Also, keep in mind that the presence of iron dust particles has created a brand-new disease known as “Welder’s lung”. And in 2016 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that even mild exposure to steel welding fume is cancerogenic.
Welding Fume Extraction Hoods
Here’s a “fun” story. Many years ago, welders got nauseous every Monday. The bosses attributed their condition to “excessive drinking” during the weekend. However, this couldn’t have been further from the truth. In reality, the symptoms of zinc poisoning from welding are most pronounced after detoxification. Since the latter happens during the weekend a typical Monday brought the most severe nausea for the workers and close to zero progress on welding projects.
Welding fumes can harm both your business and your workers. As a responsible entrepreneur, you want the best for your employees and a safe environment will surely attract the skilled technicians to work for you. Days off linked to health problems will be diminished, leading to better productivity and results for your company. Killing two birds with one stone has never been easier, you just have to make sure to choose the most suitable welding fumes extractor.
Not all fume extractors are created equal
Let’s clarify something once and for all. Welding requires a welding fume extractor. Don’t flirt with other absorption devices just because everyone does have one. Take your time and make an informed decision on what is the best product for your situation. You don’t cut a tree in the forest using a kitchen knife, right? Right?
Now that we narrowed the choices of fume extractors, we will narrow them even more. If you care about good cost per value ratio you will surely get these criteria met when choosing our services. The famous Nederman and Kemper extraction arms are also present in our offers. This shows that we strive to work with a handful of highly-regarded companies in the field to assure that our clients get the most from their purchase. Since a welding extractor is next to useless without proper installation of the whole system, we will walk through the common DON’Ts in the world of fume extraction.
Get the most out of your extractor
Probably the number one mistake with welding fumes extraction is the positioning of the extractor according to the welder. Ideally, the ventilation should be placed so that it faces the worker. The welding fumes will be absorbed if the extractor is positioned at the right distance from the fume source. As a rule of thumb, the distance has to be equal to the diameter of the fume extractor arm. An eight-inch diameter means that the extraction hood should stand 8 inches away from the fume source.
Design is also critical. Yes, you heard us right. Flat edges at the bottom of the hood rim deliver far better fume extraction than oval or circular hoods. However, no matter the composition of the hood, fume extractors do not act as vacuum cleaners for the particles on the workbench nor do they provide any use for shield gas.
Make sure to choose the right size and to have enough space for the fume extraction arm in your workplace. Don’t bend it or you might halt the airflow. Also, the extractor should not be above the welder because the fumes from the work will directly go towards his face. A welding fumes extractor should be close to the workbench but not interfering with the hands of the welder. At the same time, the extraction arms should stay firm but be easily moved with one hand.
To sum up: less fume – more fame. Although it is always useful to have a good company image, investing in fume extraction will also provide a better workflow and proper environment for the employees. Give us a call and we will answer all your questions.